Like a variation upon a theme, these two terracotta busts subtly contrast with each other: one woman looks up, the other down, one turns to the right, the other to the left, but neither woman meets the viewer's eyes. Sculptor Augustin Pajou modeled the busts with a striking simplicity. Their faces are modeled in smooth planes, and their hair, loosely tied with a ribbon, is indicated by thinly marked grooves. Pajou was paid 240 livres for these busts, which were designed as models for gilt wood console ornaments on a balcony for the Salle de l'Opéra at the royal palace at Versailles. This elaborate theater was being newly renovated in preparation for the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and the Dauphin. The finished wood heads are now lost; they were probably destroyed in a subsequent renovation of the room.


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